ENGL 4301:501
Winter 1998-99

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The passage below is from an Old English version of a Bible story. The first word hine, "him," refers to Samson.

Your assignment (due in class Mon. 11 January) has several components:

  1. Make a word-by-word literal translation of the passage.
  2. Make a more idiomatic translation into Modern English.
  3. Write a brief essay that addresses these questions: what are the most salient differences between this Old English and your idiomatic Modern English version of the passage, in terms of word order and vocabulary? What are the strangest things about the Old English passage? What are the most familiar things?

You get a substantial glossary with this assignment. You should be able to understand unglossed words, sometimes with a bit of educated guessing.

The letter þ represents the sound of modern "th." The letter g is a sound close to modern /y/. "ge-" at the beginning of a word is the marker of the past tense or past participle.




Hine beswac swaþeah siþþan an wif, Dalila gehaten, of þæm hæþnan folce, swa þæt he hiere sægde, þurh hiere swicdom bepæht, on hwæm his strengþu wæs and his wundorlice miht. . . . He hiere sægde: "Ic eom Gode gehalgod fram minum cildhade; and ic næs næfre geefsod, ne næfre bescoren; and gif ic beo bescoren, þonne beo ic unmihtig, oþrum mannum gelic. . . .

Heo þa on sumum dæge, þa þa he on slæpe læg, forcearf his seofon loccas, and aweahte hine siþþan. Þa wæs he swa unmihtig swa swa oþre menn. And þa Philistei gefengon hine sona, swa swa heo hine belæwde, and gelæddon hine onweg; and heo hæfde þone sceatt, swa swa him gewearþ.

Hie þa hine ablendon, and gebundenne læddon on heardum racenteagum ham to hiera byrig, and on cweartene belucon to langre fierste: heton hine grindan æt hiera hand-cweorne.